If you are of a certain age and you buy stocks, you probably remember waiting for your daily newspaper to arrive, opening it up and scanning the listings to find yesterday’s closing prices. Once a month you would get a paper statement in the mail with the value of your portfolio at the end of the preceding month. If you wanted to make some trades, you could call your broker’s office, make an appointment and get advice. Perhaps they would send you something in the mail such as a prospectus or analyst report. Once you made a decision, you could call them again and have them place a trade order, which would be executed in a few days.
Today, you can go to many different websites, type in the stock symbol, and get a real-time stock price. You can see it in the context of what the whole market is doing. You can see the price history of that stock for any time period. You can see the ratings from the different ratings firms and read what analysts think the company’s prospects are. You can log in to your online account and see the performance of your entire portfolio in near real time, and you can take whatever action you want right away. Investors are now empowered to study, learn, make their own decisions and execute on them quickly.
Unfortunately, when it comes to business data the situation is still much like following how the stock market used to be. If a business user wants any information outside of a standardized report, everyone--from the C-suite on down--has to call someone in IT and say, "Get me this number." IT will likely say something like, "Okay, I can have that for you in two weeks.” And you have to do that for every single question you have because the volume of data is so great, and they have to figure out a way to join it and deliver it to you in a way that you can handle and that is secure. This frustration has been with us for a very long time.
That is why I am so excited about the enhancements we are making to Incorta Cloud. For the very first time, business users will be able to spin up their own data analytics infrastructure without the help of IT—the kind of infrastructure that would give them the same kind of 360 view of their world that you can now get about any stock, along with the ability to question and explore all they want. This is something new.
There is a lot that business users can do today without the help of IT. They can configure and use all kinds of software such as Salesforce or Marketo or Zendesk. They can sign up for social media platforms, and services to manage their email and their calendars and their productivity. They can look at data inside of these systems, but that is only one view of the world.
To answer urgent questions such as, how many customers are at risk of churn; which parts of my supply chain will be affected by the trade war with China; or, how is COVID changing my inventory requirements--all of these require more than one data source to answer. But to put different data sets together to get a complete picture, they need IT help. They need a mechanic to put things together so they can drive.
With Incorta Cloud, they don’t need to go to a mechanic anymore. When they go into the platform, they see all the data that is available to them, and they can select and integrate multiple data sources. They can bring in an external data source and add it to the mix very quickly. All the security is taken care of based on the data source. For example, if they are trying to access Salesforce data, Incorta will log into Salesforce, identify the user, and apply their same permissions and controls. They can drive right away, regardless of how much data there is, and whether it is in a database, stream, application or data lake. We provide the fastest path to any and all business data, all with predictable costs and enterprise-grade security.
Many large enterprises are already finding business value from these capabilities, and the same capabilities are available to anyone today through our free trial. What we are working on now is to expand capacity to be able to do even more complex data processing and analytics, and to offer these capabilities to even more business users on a subscription basis.
As a CEO, I use Incorta every day to answer questions that used to be hard to answer. I use combined data from Salesforce, Marketo and Hubspot to look at our pipeline to study how prospects are progressing through the sales cycle, and to figure out how we can help them come to a decision faster. I also use data from Salesforce and Zendesk to monitor all customer issues to make sure that if any customer submits a ticket, within two or three hours it is resolved. But we want to resolve issues even faster for bigger customers with more users, and it is this combination of data that lets me make sure that we are scoring and prioritizing tickets in the right way.
When our leadership team meets, every time we look at data with Incorta, we are able to make decisions. We do not have to wait for information, rely on hunches, or debate ideas. When we look at numbers, everybody is in agreement.
I am also monitoring the progress of COVID using data from Johns Hopkins because I am personally interested to see patterns across cities and states. I’ve even used Incorta for a school project for my daughter. In her first-grade class, they were simulating a city, with manufacturing, sales, taxes, etc. We took data they had compiled in Excel and put it on the big screen to slice and dice and show them how to filter and compare and analyze. That was a lot of fun.
We don’t anticipate that a lot of first grade classes will sign up for Incorta Cloud (at least not right away) but we hope a lot of other people will. Our aim with it is to democratize access to real time, integrated data for analytics.
So many businesses are looking for something like this. Now more than ever, they need to make decisions fast, but they can’t get timely answers to their questions. We’ve had a lot of success solving this problem for big companies, but whatever we say, people will not understand. We are doing what was dreamt of, but previously not thought possible to be done before.
Seeing is believing. By making it easier to access and try and use, in pay-as-you-go cloud offering, you don’t need a big budget to get started. Anyone can start using Incorta to solve small problems and expand from there, taking data analytics from frustrating to incisive and creating a lot of business value along the way.